At some point in everyone’s life, they stop and reflect on how things may have gone differently. Should I have gone on that date? What if I hadn’t missed that train? Where would I be had I not failed high school? For me, that question is: What if my full legal name wasn’t Maniac Mike the Motorcycle Madman?
As I lay here in this hospital bed in a full-body cast, having broken almost every bone in my body, I’ve had a lot of time to think. Would I even be here if my father wasn’t a failed stuntman and had just named me Michael? I guess I’ll never know. One must accept the hand that fate deals and, for me, it was being trained to jump over neighborhood children on a minibike before I could even walk.
But what’s in a name? I could have been “Maniac Mike the Motorcycle Madman, Attorney at Law” if I wasn’t forced to spend my youth doing loop-de-loops inside a flaming steel cage. Or “Dr. Maniac Mike the Motorcycle Madman” had I gone to college instead of trying to break Robbie Maddieson’s 346-foot world record.
Had I been named John or Peter, perhaps I wouldn’t have a crushed pelvis and have to pee out of this tube on my side. Sure, my father would probably still have forced me to base jump from the upper atmosphere without a parachute, but maybe I wouldn’t have felt so inclined to do it had I not had the words “Maniac” and “Madman” on both my birth certificate and my leather jacket.
I could legally change my name and sign the court documents if someone put a pen in my mouth, but I can’t help but think this all happened for a reason.